Forced to press my friend for elaboration, he paused a moment obviously searching his own memory and then brightened... "Well, what about those amazing salmon rissoles you came up with that time?"
I imagine sitting in a glass-enclosed office on the 20th floor overlooking Sydney harbour with the high-fluting execs of Murdoch Publishing, pitching my idea for an international cooking bible. The signature dish? Salmon rissoles...
When I ventured onto maternity leave 7 months ago I had high aspirations. I romanticised about having a three-course dinner on the table when my husband came home from work; sending him off the next morning with leftovers lovingly wrapped in tinfoil; the smell of freshly baking scones permeating the neighbourhood like a seductive love-song.
7 months on, I've scaled back a bit. Occasionally I boil some pasta at 8.30pm when the baby is finally asleep; if he's lucky my husband gets a tin of tuna and a dubiously spotty banana to take to work. More often than not, he buys takeaway.
Anyway. I have finally accepted that (a) I do not enjoy cooking and (b) even if I did, I am not very good at it. And (c) I am ok with that.
My daughter is now 7 months old and has begun watching our food-intake with a similar intensity to that of the family Labrador. Before I had her, (and in truth for the last 6 months) I dreaded the bit when she would start solids. Whipping out a breast is so much easier than whipping up a 3-cheese vegetable medley, non? But while I have no hesitation opening a in of Campbell's finest for my own dinner, I am bemused to discover I am somewhat loathe to offer the same to my daughter.
In truth, I am getting a macabre, maternal satisfaction from the ice-cube trays incubating pint-sized portions inside my freezer. I've even bought a food-processor for God's sake! However, not entirely trusting my own capability for blending vegetables; I invested in Annabel Karmel's "New complete baby and toddler meal planner" . The book gave me the confidence to move beyond pureed apple -- to venture into the murky depths of MIXING STUFF UP. The look of wonder on my daughter's face as she swallows cauliflower, leek and carrot puree for the first time gives me a maternal glow and sense of satisfaction to make me believe, finally that perhaps I am a domestique goddess after all.
I say 'domestique', because that's how I see myself, really. Doing the hard yards; taking one for the team; striving to get my little poppit over the line with the polka-dot jersey. Because I think that's the least I can do to give her the best start to life. So even though I despise cooking, I'll keep at it. Who knows? Maybe one day I'll teach her how to make my world-famous salmon rissoles...